Mice-level espionage, evocative platformers, and retro role-playing games are on the list for this week's top game picks for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Steve Jobs may be gone, but that doesn't mean the releases stop rolling out on Apple's App Store. If you're the owner of an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, plenty of new games were released this week, including the long-awaited iPad version of the addictive Peggle and the second chapter of the hilarious but totally not-for-the-kiddies adventure game Hector (this one titled Episode 2: Senseless Acts of Justice). But we've gone beyond those two big hits to delve deeper into the most promising recent releases available for your devices. Check out what GameSpot editors around the world have been playing and enjoying below!
Spy Mouse--iPhone/iPod Touch
We know what you're thinking--another game in the line-drawing genre? Ordinarily, you may be right to scoff, but when the new title is from the company that essentially invented the genre, then you've got to sit up and take notice. Spy Mouse is the latest game from Aussie dev studio Firemint, the creators of the popular Flight Control. But instead of marshalling aircraft, this time around, you're in charge of a plucky little mouse making his way through various household and industrial environments, all the while trying to grab cheese and stay away from patrolling cats. You can draw Spy Mouse's path as he sneakily makes his way around felines, traps, and mouse holes, but you can quickly change his path at any time should an emergency arise. And emergencies will arise often, with the patrolling cats becoming greater in number and more aggressive as you progress through the game's six worlds. The game is full of neat touches (such as different "devices" that can affect cats, such as televisions and fireplaces) and even a few compelling "boss" fights. And the whole '60s aesthetic just snaps, from the retro look of the houses and buildings you'll have to traipse around to the jazzy, lounge soundtrack. Spy Mouse is highly recommended, with perhaps the major downside now being that no HD version is available for iPad owners.
Contre Jour--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
From one big-name mobile company to another, it's Chillingo's turn to unveil its latest time sink. Chillingo--the publisher who first unveiled Angry Birds to the world (along with developer Rovio)--this week released Contre Jour, a visually outstanding physics puzzler that is equal parts charming and downbeat. In Contre Jour, you control the environment, with your task being to manipulate the world to get Petit (a cyclops-like black blob) toward a glowing blue blob of light. You'll need to create hills to start Petit rolling, build ramps to launch him, and even use a variety of other devices to push, pull, or shoot him across levels. In French, Contre Jour means against daylight, which is an apt description for the game's outstanding monochromatic art style that looks more than a little like indie favorite Limbo. The game looks great, and the gameplay is just as compelling.
Dragon Fantasy--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
Spy Mouse may have some retro stylings, but Dragon Fantasy takes it to a whole different level. This old-school NES-style role-playing game eschews fancy graphics for some authentic-looking 8-bit adventuring. It puts you in the role of an old soldier who once saved the princess when he was a teen but hasn't done much of note since then. When evil strikes the land again, it's up to the bald knight Ogden to take up arms in turn-based battles, many of which are peppered with funny descriptions from your various foes (such as Mrs. Rock's domestic-helper-based quips). In fact, this knowing, tongue-in-cheek attitude permeates the entirety of Dragon Fantasy, making it a genuinely funny homage to RPGs of yesteryear. And while the graphics may look basic, they're bright and colorful, as well as pop on a larger screen, such as the iPad.
HungryMaster--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
Another retro game with a tongue-in-cheek attitude is HungryMaster, which offers a modern take on old-school Japanese arcade action that is complete with poor translations of cutscene dialogue. From what we can figure out from the intentionally garbled English on display, the game has you playing as a girl who can use magic to destroy various beasties, turning them into different types of food. Within each level, you'll have to deliver a set number and type of food to houses, and you're accompanied by a wisecracking, probably alcoholic, cat. HungryMaster is a true button masher, with hundreds of enemies onscreen at once that you'll need to navigate around and destroy. The game makes good use of its kooky premise, and there are plenty of laughs to be had from its strange and badly translated story. And while the gameplay is exceedingly simple, it's also strangely addictive, and it can be quite hectic to battle your way through a screen full of bouncing enemies.
MiniGame Paradise--iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad
You know how you've spent a dollar here and a dollar there on one-trick arcadelike games for you devices, and each of these games only really offer you one game mechanic that you probably got bored of if you played it for too long in any one sitting? Well, let us introduce you to MiniGame Paradise, which is a compilation of the one-trick game style so prevalent on mobile phones. You get 10 in this pack, which includes minigames such as a Canabalt-style auto-running game where you have to jump over opponents; a schmup-like shooter; a ski-slalom type event; and much more. Each game can be addictive in short bursts, which is the beauty of MiniGame Paradise, as you can quickly switch to another game once your boredom meter starts to rise even slightly. It's all presented in an ubercute, Japanese style of animation where furry animals and stick-figure-like humans inhabit the quirky gameworld. There's some good progression to be had, too, with different characters and content to be unlocked as you score high in its various games. There's even a very light RPG-like element, where you can "train" your characters to improve their stats. The major drawback is that not all of the games are unlocked at the start, and you'll have to spend stars earned while playing the minigames to open up new challenges.
GameSpot's weekly mobile games recommendation list aims to bring you a snapshot of what games the editorial team members around the globe are enjoying on their phones and tablets. For a more in-depth explanation of GameSpot's mobile games coverage policy, click here. For more games, be sure to check out our previous coverage:
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 19, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 12, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 5, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - July 29, 2011
And for even more mobile videos, check out our new show Appetite for Distraction.
Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds and Bejeweled are the only iphone games I play when I need to kill 15-30 min...plus I've maxed out my 32G..meh..maybe I should drag my PSP with me..lol..
Sorry but I don't see myself playing these kind of lame games forever, I need portables Mario, Pokemon, Uncharted... not these things. 3DS and PSV FTW!!! Say NO to smartphone/tablet crappy games!
And this is what Analyst's, Dev's and some Gaming sites (cough IGN) thinks is the future of handheld gaming